Introduction: Upcycled Bedsheet Nightgown
Made use of a queen size flat sheet no longer needed. Good condition, but fairly threadworn so it will make a soft nightgown, I decided to also teastain it for a vintage appearace. I knotted the fabric up before placing it in a shallow pan with strong dark tea for approximately 15 minutes turning it occasionally. Rinse well in the laundry tub with cool water by hand, wring it out in a thick towel to get most of the moisture out and place it in the dryer. Iron as necessary. Tea staining in this way gave it the lightly mottled discoloration I was hoping for. You will want to measure and compare the fabric of your sheet to verify that you have enough to complete whatever pattern and size you will be using. You might make it with a full size flat, but an average queen size flat is approximately 90"x102" so you will not be able to lay out the pattern pieces as shown in the directions with the pattern. I am using Simplicity pattern# 4048 in sizes M-XL, but used the large size for this project.
Step 1: Pinning and Cutting the Fabric
Layout the prepared sheet on a cutting board on a table or floor, and begin folding the sides of the sheet to the center on either side if you are using a queen size or larger. You will need folds for the front and back yokes and panels. As previously written, you will need to experiment and shift around the patterns to see the best way to place on the fabric before you ever start cutting. You will end up with a front and back panel, 2 front and 2 back yokes, 2 sleeves & 3 pieces of the ruffle. Be sure to use tracing paper and a tracing tool to mark the inside of the fabric for any darts, center marks or areas that you will need to match up later. Any outside seam notches will have been cut out with your scissors when you cut out the patterns. Some advice is to cut inward when cutting the notches, I have always cut them out in a point.
Step 2: Sewing the Sleeves
Tackled the sleeves first by sewing a lace trim on the cuffs. Double fold the edge 1/4" and pin the lace trim on the wrong side. (You can omit any lace or trim as desired.) Simply straight stitch, removing the pins right before you get to that area. The third picture I am showing some binding that you could choose to sew on the inside of the sleeve on either side of the binding and then slip the 1/4" elastic inside with a safety pin to gather. I don't want that much excess fabric in the wrist area and I usually choose to stitch the elastic right onto the fabric with the stretch stitch, if you have one on your machine. If not, use a narrow zigzag stitch on the elastic. I also choose to place a larger safety pin on the area of where I stayed stitched the start of the elastic, simply because you will have to be holding this area as you stretch the front of the elastic the entire length of your sleeve and begin sewing. You need to be able to hold the fabric and elastic from both ends to stretch as you begin to sew and cannot grip the area under the foot using just your fingers. Be sure to cut the elastic a little larger then the circumference of your wrist. Tack the start in place with back stitching and input the pin so you can grip it from the back. Do not pull on the back, but use to hold and work the fabric through as you keep the elastic stretched out in front as you sew as in the 7th image. If measured and sewn correctly, you will end up with the wrists gathered nicely, and it should not be too tight a fit once you sew the cuffs together.
Step 3: Stitching Front and Back Panels to Yoke
This is when you will start matching up the fabric notches you cut out when you were cutting out your patterns. First you will need to put basting stitches inside the top of the front and back panels to slightly gather the fabric so it matches and fits the yokes before stitching them together. Once panels are properly gathered, attach them to the yokes. Be sure to correctly match the front and back panels and yokes, the back yoke neckline is shorter than the front. The next step is to stitch the front and back yokes together by the shoulder seams. You will then stitch the front and back interfacing yokes at the shoulder seams, as in the 8th image. As the 9th & 10th image shows, you will then place the interfacing right sides together on the yokes and stitch completely around the neckline as shown.
Step 4: Finishing the Yoke and Attaching the Sleeves
You will need to clip or snip all 4 corners of the inside of the yokes as well as making additional clips near the main one. Make them as close to the seam being careful not to snip the stitching. The second image shows how the corner appears bunched up with only the one main snip made at the corner. The third image shows additional snips from the center of the corners making a much smoother appearance once right side out and pressed. Turn over the edge of the bottom of the interfacing yoke on the inside of the gown and either baste or hand stitch in place as shown in images 4 and 5.
You will then match up the sleeves, right sides together, starting with the outside edges, matching the notches. Place the basting stitch between the marks previously traced on the inside of the fabric at the top of each sleeve. This is where you will gather the top part of the sleeve sufficiently to line up and sew your sleeve into place.
Step 5: Sewing the Side Seams and Adding the Ruffle
Almost a nightgown!
All you need to do now is stitch down each of the side seams from the cuff to the end of the panel. Once that is done you will stitch together all three ruffle panels at the sides and either sew up the bottom of this for the hem or add additional lace for trim in the same way that you finished the cuffs.
You will need to gather the ruffle and instead of attempting to make one basting thread to gather the entire ruffle, I made a seperate ones for each of the three ruffle panels, seam to seam. This way I only had a small amount to gather on each one which gives less of a chance of the thread breaking and having to start all over. Sew on the ruffle after gathering to fit the bottom of the panels and you are done!
Step 6: Finished Nightgown
Though this was created with a cotton sheet, you could always use an old flannel one to create a nice warm gown for winter. It did not take long at all and best of luck in your creation.